The refusal to initiate cassation proceedings in a civil case in the form of a resolution complies with the Constitution
17 March, 2020
On March 13, the Constitutional Court adopted a judgment in the case No 2019-13-01 “On Compliance of Section 464 (41) of the Civil Procedure Law with the First Sentence of Article 92 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia”, that is, on refusal to initiate cassation proceedings in a civil case in the form of a resolution. The Constitutional Court acknowledged that this provision is in conformity with the Satversme (Constitution).
Taking into account the impact of civil legal relations on person’s rights, the functions of the court of cassation and peculiarities of cassation proceedings, as well as the process and basis of adoption of this decision, the Constitutional Court concluded that the justification principle does not require the decision to refuse to initiate cassation proceedings in a civil case to include its substantiation.
The Constitutional Court concluded that the decision on refusal to initiate cassation proceedings in a civil case in accordance with Section 464 of the Civil Procedure Law is taken collegially and unanimously. The collegial adoption of this decision provides a comprehensive assessment of whether there are grounds to initiate cassation proceedings following a specific cassation complaint.
The panel of judges is obliged to refuse to initiate cassation proceedings if the cassation complaint does not comply with the formal requirements specified by law. Whereas, in order to decide to refuse to initiate cassation proceedings, the panel of judges must, within its discretion, ascertain the existence of case law or unity of case law and the need to further develop the law in the legal issues indicated in the cassation complaint, as well as the compliance of the appealed judgment with the case law or the correctness of the outcome of the case. The Constitutional Court acknowledged that the reference to the legal basis included in the decision on refusal to initiate cassation proceedings provides a person with sufficient information regarding the reasons for the refusal.
The findings of the Constitutional Court in this case are to be assessed as especially important, because they indicate the role and function of the cassation instance in Latvia.
The Constitutional Court points out that the cassation instance plays an important role in the Latvian legal system both in the public legal interests and in the interests of the parties to proceedings. These two interests need to be balanced. However, the public interest is of paramount importance for the court of cassation. The primary task of the court of cassation is to ensure uniform interpretation and application of legal provisions. The Constitutional Court acknowledged that the legislator must ensure that the court of cassation effectively implements its functions, inter alia, relieving it of the examination of unfounded complaints and performance of insignificant tasks.
Judgement of the Constitutional Court (in Latvian)
Press release about the judgement (in Latvian)
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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